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May 19, 2020

Dear Point Park Students and Families:

In light of the enormous uncertainty that we all have experienced over the past two months, I am writing to confirm for you that we expect the Point Park University campus in Downtown Pittsburgh to be open and fully operational for the start of the Fall 2020 semester. Saturday and Online only classes begin August 29, 2020.  All other classes begin the week of August 31, 2020. All classes will begin as scheduled. 

The University has closely monitored all Federal, State, and local government agencies and have followed directions accordingly.  The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has moved our county, Allegheny, from Red to Yellow status. Given the public health data in the Commonwealth, Point Park University will be fully prepared to open when Allegheny County transitions to Green status.  This means that Universities can be fully operational on campus while following the appropriate public health guidelines of social distancing, wearing face masks when required, enhanced hygiene efforts, contact tracing and COVID-19 mitigation strategies. 

Point Park is developing all necessary plans and guidelines for students, faculty, and staff to follow so that we can come back together safely.   All University facilities have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected with state-of-the-art materials and equipment.  This enhanced cleaning will continue throughout the new academic year.  We will make sure that the University campus is as clean and safe as possible.  All students, faculty, and staff will be required to follow all public health measures that are directed at the time. 

In the event that the virus re-emerges in Allegheny County or Pennsylvania, we will be prepared to take action as directed by government and public health agencies to help mitigate the spread.  Given our collective experience halfway through the Spring term, we have learned a lot as a University and as a community.  All students had the opportunity to complete their courses and earn their credits.  This is our commitment to you.

The safety of our students and University community remains one of our top priorities.  We have established various COVID-19 Task Forces to make sure that the University campus is and will be a safe place to learn and grow.  All of these plans will be available on the University Website well before the Fall term begins.  Some of these Task Forces are developing innovative approaches to some of the challenges we may face during the 2020-21 academic year.  We will be prepared to modify our learning community in ways that protect public health and also allow students to complete their courses and earn their credits.

Point Park is a thriving, diverse, and inclusive University community.  We have a strong commitment to student success through distinctive innovative and experiential learning.  We focus on the learning that all students need to be career ready upon graduation or to enhance an existing career.  We are prepared to welcome you to campus this fall and ask that you bring your energy, passion, and enthusiasm.  You motivate us.  I am looking forward to seeing the work that you will be doing in the classroom, in the studio, on the field, and in our community. 

At Point Park, you will have the opportunity to be career ready when you graduate, regardless of what circumstances may come our way.  Learning how to deal with difficult and unusual circumstances while staying focused on your goals will be the hallmark of your generation.  Let’s nurture this strength together.

Thank you.

Paul Hennigan

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:

Across the University, teams are working on plans for the Fall semester. As we have discussed in several forums over the last weeks, our expectation is to return to full on-campus learning and operations if deemed possible by the CDC and government mandates. Because of the fluid nature of COVID-19 we also are planning for several scenarios. That planning includes the Pittsburgh Playhouse season for 2020-2021.

The team at the Pittsburgh Playhouse has been busy working with faculty, staff and students on the upcoming season at Point Park University’s Pittsburgh Playhouse, Downtown’s newest center for arts and entertainment. Since its opening, the Playhouse has become a campus-wide resource used by all areas of the University. 

You will be receiving a save the date on Friday with information on how to join an announcement on the new season we hope to all enjoy in the coming year. The 2020-2021 season will be announced via video on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube at 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 19 by Steven Breese, Pittsburgh Playhouse artistic director, and Drew Martorella, Pittsburgh Playhouse managing director.

CARES ACT STUDENT GRANT APPLICATION

Point Park University recently received federal stimulus funding through the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act to distribute directly to students as emergency financial aid for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic. Undergraduate and Graduate/Doctoral students who meet basic eligibility criteria for federal financial aid will be considered for these funds. Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Education does not allow these funds to be used for international students, undocumented students, non-degree students or students enrolled in fully online programs. Also, any student who withdrew prior to March 13 will not be eligible. To fill out an application, please login to Pointweb here. If eligible, a grant award will be sent to you within 14 days and credited to your account.

Direct deposit is the fastest and most secure way to receive your CARES Act grant. If you have not already signed up to receive student account refunds via direct deposit, it is recommended you do that now. For more information, please visit our direct deposit webpage. Students who do not elect direct deposit will have a paper check mailed to their home address.

Please check your Point Park email and COVID-19 page of the University website often for important updates and useful information.

Thank you,
Paul Hennigan

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students: 

ALLEGHENY COUNTY MOVING TO YELLOW

On Friday, May 15, 2020, Allegheny County moves to the Yellow Phase of the State’s Process to Reopen Pennsylvania Plan put in place because of COVID-19. According to Gov. Tom Wolf, the purpose of the Yellow Phase is to allow for some reopening of business operations while still keeping an eye on public health data to ensure the spread of disease remains contained to the greatest extent possible. 

So what does this mean for Point Park University’s operations? In this phase, staff approved to telework will continue to do so. Please contact your direct supervisor for any questions regarding your specific position.

Our goal continues to be ensuring the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff while continuing to provide a fully operational University. 

POINT PARK PERSPECTIVES CONTINGENCY PLANNING FEEDBACK

Please take the survey mentioned at last week’s Point Park Perspectives meeting. This survey has been designed to solicit your ideas that will provide important information to Point Park University and the fall semester contingency planning teams. In order for the information to be timely and useful, we ask that you complete the survey by end of day on Wednesday, May 13.  Please click here to get started.

CONTINGENCY PLANNING DATES TO REMEMBER

Planning is now underway on contingency planning for the Fall.  Some dates to keep in mind:

May & June: Steering Committee meet weekly. Planning groups will meet and develop plans and recommendations

June 30, 2020: Comprehensive plan presented to the Board of Trustees. A Point Park Perspectives town hall will be scheduled around this time to discuss the comprehensive plan and provide an update on the fall semester.

CARES ACT STUDENT GRANT APPLICATION

Point Park University recently received federal stimulus funding through the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act to distribute directly to students as emergency financial aid for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic. Undergraduate and Graduate/Doctoral students who meet basic eligibility criteria for federal financial aid will be considered for these funds. Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Education does not allow these funds to be used for international students, undocumented students, non-degree students or students enrolled in fully online programs. Also, any student who withdrew prior to March 13 will not be eligible. To fill out an application, please login to Pointweb here. If eligible, a grant award will be sent to you within 14 days and credited to your account.

Direct deposit is the fastest and most secure way to receive your CARES Act grant. If you have not already signed up to receive student account refunds via direct deposit, it is recommended you do that now. For more information, please visit our direct deposit webpage. Students who do not elect direct deposit will have a paper check mailed to their home address.

Please check your Point Park email and COVID-19 page of the University website often for important updates and useful information.

Thank you.

Paul Hennigan

Monday, May 11, 2020

CARES Act Student Grant Application

Point Park University recently received federal stimulus funding through the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act to distribute directly to students as emergency financial aid for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic. Undergraduate and Graduate/Doctoral students who meet basic eligibility criteria for federal financial aid will be considered for these funds. Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Education does not allow these funds to be used for international students, undocumented students, non-degree students or students enrolled in fully online programs. Also, any student who withdrew prior to March 13 will not be eligible. To fill out an application, please login to Pointweb here. If eligible, a grant award will be sent to you within 14 days and credited to your account.

Direct deposit is the fastest and most secure way to receive your CARES Act grant. If you have not already signed up to receive student account refunds via direct deposit, it is recommended you do that now. For more information, please visit our direct deposit webpage. Students who do not elect direct deposit will have a paper check mailed to their home address.

May 5, 2020

Dear Faculty and Mission Support Staff,

By now you have received a calendar invitation to participate in a Point Park Perspective Zoom meeting at 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 6, 2020. Your participation is very important as we begin to plan for the next academic year.  Next year will be like no other we have planned for as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

While our expectation is to return to normal operations with an on-ground fall semester, this planning will ensure that we are able to continue to provide the highest quality education our students expect. The number of potential scenarios we need to plan for is daunting, and lies on a continuum from normal operations to fully online fall and spring semesters. 

Following are some other important announcements:

SUMMER PROGRAMS

Point Park University has made the difficult decision to cancel all residential and in-person summer camps. This was a hard choice but the right one for our community given the potential spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) within the United States and abroad. For those who may have registered for programming already, please check the webpage specific to Summer Education within the coming days for further details regarding credits and refunds.

The mission of Community and Summer Education is to provide educational and enrichment opportunities for energetic students from all over the region, country and globe. We are proud to offer authentic, participant-centered programming that generates personal development and future adventures through higher education.

Although we are disheartened that students and instructors cannot be together in person this summer, we are excited to share that a variety of the summer programs will be offered through selective virtual classes and sessions. 

The best part? New summer camp initiatives will be available FREE of charge to the public.

Community and Summer Education is currently working with instructors to craft a schedule of events. Further details regarding these pre-professional classes will become available over the next few weeks. Please check the webpage specific to Community and Summer Education for more information.

OUTREACH TO FACULTY AND MISSION SUPPORT STAFF

To ensure effective communications please remember that John Pearson, Provost, will send twice-weekly updates to all Faculty and Mission Support Staff to ensure that everyone has access to information and assist in building a cooperative environment . 

Finally, I urge everyone to check their Point Park email and the University Website daily for important information that will continue to be communicated as needed. 

Thank you for all of your important work.

Paul Hennigan
President